One Hour Every Day At Four O'clock
Every day at four o'clock I stop whatever it is I am doing to
watch my favorite soap opera. I take the phone off the hook,
lock the door, sit with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and
escape. It has become an addiction. One that I like having.
Almost every time I do this, I am astounded at how much better
the lives of these people are than mine. There are some basic
facts, Ladies and Gentlemen, that apply only to soap opera
people, the women in particular.
The women in soap operas are always extraordinarily beautiful.
The women in soap operas do not walk across a room, they glide.
The women in soap operas are never without a man for more than
three hours at a stretch. That is, if their story book
relationship is about to break up, you can always be assured
that there is another Adonis waiting just around the scene. The
women in soap operas never do laundry, clean toilet bowls or
vacuum. The women is soap operas never have a single hair out of
place or a nail chipped. I remember one scene in particular that
exemplified this because it paralleled the same situation in my
life. I was at the airport saying goodbye to my friend. A young
lady on the soap opera was at the airport saying goodbye to her
I will never forget how she looked. One perfectly shaped tear
glistened down her luminously made up face. The wind blew
through her shining blonde hair. (I wondered at the time where
the wind came from in the middle of the airport). A Beethoven
symphony was playing in the background and dozens of beautiful
white casablanca lilies cascaded around her from out of the sky
(there must have been a hole in the airport roof), as her lover
took her hand in his and kissed it tenderly.
In my scenario, there was considerably more than one tear. My
face was not luminous, it was wet. It did not glisten, it was
too drenched in mascara and pancake make up to glisten too much.
The only music I recall was a strange looking fellow 's sony
walkman blasting something less than romantic in the background.
I particularly remember this because it drowned out the sound of
whatever my friend was saying to me at the time. I have a strong
suspicion it was goodbye, but I will never really know for sure.
Human beings behave differently on soap operas. Have you ever
watched people go swimming on a soap opera. The women arrive at
the pool in gold laminated dresses enveloping their tiny bikinis
that match the gold flecks in their eyes. The men, I am sure
arrive straight from their previous employment with Playgirl
magazine. If either party actually does manage to get wet, you
can be assured that as they emerge out of the water, their hair
suddenly parts perfectly down the middle of their forehead,
miraculously, similar to the parting of the red sea. The men's
bodies glisten with oils. Somehow a little man with an oil can
must have been down there at the bottom of the pool. Many times,
I have waited beside my pool (such as it is) hoping some man,
any man, would emerge, tanned and oiled like that, all to no
And have you ever noticed what it is like being sick on a soap
opera. It almost makes you want to run out and collect as many
germs as you can find, just so you can get admitted to those
wonderful places of recuperation. Terminal patients never look
terminal on a soap. They look lovely. They lie in their
perfectly made up Wamsutta down beds while being attended to by
physicians that look remarkably like Robert Redford and Tom
And most of them seem to have sudden and astounding recoveries.
Of course, with doctors like those, who could blame them. Even
the dead on soap operas look wonderful. If I really must go
someday, please God, let it be on a soap. I would love the world
to remember me that way.
Let's face it. The people on soaps do not attend to everyday
realities. I do not recall even one soap opera person ever
having to go the the john. I have given this much thought and
have decided that they just don't have to do that sort of thing.
They go to the powder room, (it's much more civilized) to check
that nothing is amiss, although God knows why, they couldn't
possibly be improved upon.
People in soap operas don't cook much either. Rarely have I seen
anyone sweating over a hot stove. They hardly eat. That must be
why they all remain so svelte. When they do feel the need to
indulge, well, you can be assured it will be at their favorite
local dining establishment. Probably a place called "The
Escargot Room" where they are greeted by a very distinguished
frenchman named Pierre, taken to their private table, where of
course their usual red roses, waterford crystal and candlelight
awaits them. All of these details go without saying. They are
often the only ones in the restaurant, so there is always plenty
of room on the immaculately marbled dance floor.
It is here of course where the man, handsomely dressed in his
tuxedo, whispers the most incredibly romantic things in the
woman's ear. Things such as, "Darling, you touch my soul with
your eyes." I ask you, my friends, when was the last time your
man said that to you?
Oh, and if it just happens to be a special occasion such as an
engagement, then a trio of violinists or a mini orchestra
suddenly appears on the scene and the lady is presented with a
diamond ring, I am sure, borrowed from Elizabeth Taylor's
collection, while sipping on her Dom Perignon.
As of late, it has also occurred to me that people on soap
operas never seem to pay bills, floss their teeth or change
their kid's diapers. And you know something, I wouldn't have it
any other way. If I wanted to watch that, I wouldn't have to
turn on the TV. You can keep your reality. Give me Fantasy!
At least for one hour every day at four o'clock.